Do you owe your partner Sex? (Sexless Marriage, anybody?)

Do you feel like everybody you know is having lots of sex, apart from you and your other half? If so, your friends may not be telling you the whole story.

Sexless marriages are actually very common, and can be happy – however, there is usually one partner who still desires sex, and struggles to meet their own needs in terms of sexuality.

Sex must be consensual, and coercing your partner to agree to sex, because it’s been a while, is not consent. 

Ideally, you don’t want your partner just give in to sex all the time, either. 

Partners can allow themselves to get into the mood, even if they don’t particularly want it, but make sure to be aware that they can stop at any time when they really don’t feel it. 

Do I need to put up with a sexless marriage? 

The first course of action is working with the partner who is reluctant to have sex, and see what might be needed to re-awaken their desire and/or erotic and sexual potential, which is very often possible. 

A lot of the work I do with individuals has to do with the above.

So, what to do if your partner is adamant, and has decided to not have any more sex? 

In this situation, the first thing I ask couples about is their relationship agreement. 

Most couples don’t have one, but maybe it was assumed that sex would be only with this one partner after the wedding. 

Be faithful, and exclusive.

So what’s your partner to do, if they want to be faithful and exclusive, but sex is off the table? 

Please don’t assume that sex is not that important – for some people it’s at the core of their being, and their relationship – very, HUGELY, important. 

Not having sex in a sexless marriage or relationship can feel like splitting off a part of yourself, and storing it in the closet for an indefinite time. 

Not a very holistic way to live.

Of course you don’t ‘owe’ sex, but you do owe your partner conversations where you address the topic, and not dismiss their desire. When you had sex when you got together, and now you don’t anymore, you need to consider opening the relationship, to a degree that needs to be agreed on. 

The options range from polyamory, so finding another partner who your spouse can have a fulfilling sex life with, having an open relationship with communication rules and transparency (‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is also an option here, please be aware that this needs to be agreed on, else it constitutes cheating), to seeing sex workers, going for massages with ‘happy endings’ and/or Tantric Massage.

Breaking up is also an option, and it’s often with view to this that couples decide to take action, and see me.

Please consider your life circumstances as well. Sexless periods may occur when your children are little, or when stress levels are high for other reasons. It is natural to not want to have sex when you are grieving. Desire may increase again when circumstances change. Low libido during or after menopause may also increase again. 

The most important part is open and honest conversation, and acknowledging each other’s feelings and desires, without blame or guilt. Being present, and truly listening with our hearts can create openness and intimacy, and solutions can be found more easily in this spirit.